Supreme Court Strikes Down Defense of Marriage Act On Merits

In an historic milestone for equality, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the key section of a federal law that was written specifically to bar recognition and benefits for same-sex couples with marriage licenses obtained in states that have legalized same-sex marriage. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, and Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the dissent.

In a 5 to 4 vote, the high court struck down the core provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), Section 3, which bars federal recognition of same-sex marriages for the purpose of federal benefits.

The opinion comes on the heels of a string of decisions by state legislatures to approve marriage equality for same-sex couples. Since November of last year, six have done so. With California’s Proposition 8 being struck in a separate decision June 26, 13 states plus the District of Columbia will now treat same- and opposite couples equally in the eyes of the law.

The full scope of the impact of the ruling in U.S. v. Windsor will take time to sort out. For instance, legal activists say they may still need to take some actions make sure the federal government recognizes the marriage licenses of same-sex couples who live in states that do not recognize the marriage licenses they obtained in other states and countries.

In a brief to the Supreme Court, the Williams Institute estimated that about 114,000 same-sex couples in the United States have marriage licenses.

Read the full decision and celebrate!

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  • Polaro

    Oh, happy day! A major victory for all of us.

  • NateB79

    This is incredible news. Also, Jesus, Mary and Joseph Queerty. Double check that your link works before you publish the article.

  • twoguysbrooklyn

    I’m singing NEW YORK, NEW YORK this morning…

  • iMort

    Baby’s first steps are so cute. 43 years after Stonewall and only 38 states left to go.

  • hyhybt

    The “read the full decision” link leads to “page not found.”

    Nonetheless: HALLELUJAH!

  • Stenar

    Only section 3 of DOMA is dead. Section 2 still stands.

  • EGO

    Wow! What a relief! My partner of 51 years and I have been married for 9 years in Massachusetts. We are proud of the Supreme Court decision which was based on logical, civil reasoning and not on bigoted, religious principals.
    Congrats to all of us LGBTs!

  • jeff4justice

    Always the equality activist, never the groom. I feel I should be posting my OK Cupid profile.

    Onward to definitive equality.

  • Scott Gatz

    @NateB79: Link fixed Nate. The team is keeping busy this AM.

  • Sweet Boy

    Congrats to all gay couples south of the border…the US looks a little bit more like Canada….J´aime ça

  • Charlie in Charge

    @Scott Gatz: Thank you Queerty!

  • Kangol

    I am so glad this horrible law, pushed by the GOP, passed with Democratic support, and signed into law by Bill Clinton, has been rendered null and void! Next step: overturning the anti-gay, anti-marriage-equality laws across the US!

  • Elloreigh

    Now to find a state where we can get married without a lot of hassle.

  • Gryphun609

    We still have a little way (hopefully just a little) to go. This is a good start. Like another poster wrote the Fed has to make sure that those states that oppose, will and must, recognize those marriages performed in sanctioned states. More and more people are recognizing that hate doesn’t belong. We can’t help who we fall in love with and we shouldn’t be punished for it. This is only a warm up party. The big dance party is yet to come. Keep fighting the good fight and thank your friends and family for their continued fight on all our behalf.

  • hyhybt

    @Gryphun609: If we can get a requirement that states *do* accept out-of-state marriages into law, the rest of the states should flip pretty quickly: all they would be accomplishing by keeping their bans is giving people the inconvenience of going elsewhere for the wedding itself, and taking the not inconsiderable spending involved with them.

  • darkorient

    Congratulations, America! So happy for you. Now if you could also push the rest of the world towards equality…

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